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What communities originally expressed interest in getting involved as a potential host?


Last updated 12/6/2017

Twenty-two communities initially expressed interest in learning about the project and exploring their suitability as a potential host. The only commitment any of these communities have made is to learn.

Confirming a safe site will take several years of progressively more detailed technical, scientific, social, cultural, and economic studies, as well as engagement of people in the area. We will only implement the project in an area where robust safety requirements can be satisfied and community well-being fostered.

The image shows the remaining communities in the site selection process: Ignace, Manitouwadge, Hornepayne, South Bruce and Huron-Kinloss in blue, while communities no longer in the process are in grey.
Study AreasAreas No Longer Being Studied

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What are preliminary assessments?


Last updated 10/18/2016

To be considered a host for the project, an area must have potential to have a site that meets robust safety requirements. In Step 3 of the nine-step site selection process, the NWMO and the interested community, and later the First Nation and Métis communities in the area, and surrounding communities, work together to conduct preliminary assessment studies to explore whether these requirements can be met.
Studies are conducted in two phases and explore four questions:

  1. Is there the potential to find a safe site?
    Safety, security, and protection of people and the environment are central to the siting process and entire project.
  2. Is there the potential to foster the well-being of the community? Depending on the community, "well-being" might be defined as increased employment, the enhancement of the environment, infrastructure development, and so on.
  3. Is there the potential for citizens in the community to continue to be interested in the process through subsequent steps? In a later step, acceptance to host the repository must be confirmed. Continued interest and learning is important.
  4. Is there the potential to foster the well-being of surrounding communities and to establish a foundation to move forward? The project must have the potential to foster the well-being of the surrounding area as well.

Scientific and technical studies are conducted, as well as studies on community well-being. Resources to support communities are available through each phase.

Preliminary Assessments of SuitabilitySteps in the Process

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How will people and communities be engaged in Phase 2 of Preliminary Assessments?


Last updated 10/18/2016

Beyond ensuring safety, we have committed that long-term well-being or quality of life will be fostered in areas participating in the project. Broadened engagement with the community, First Nation and Métis communities in the area, and surrounding municipalities will support more detailed reflection and assessment.

Activities in this phase help develop a more detailed understanding of project benefits, opportunities to work together, and how potential negative effects of the project can be managed. We will need to develop a better and more detailed understanding of the project’s potential to align with local priorities, objectives and aspirations. Detailed study will continue in this phase to understand specific economic contributions the project would make to area well-being, the social and economic pressures that would occur, and what advance planning is required to address these pressures.

The site selection process requires sustained interest in learning and participation from communities over an extended period. Phase 2 involves more intensive community learning and engagement designed to explore whether conditions can be fostered to advance study in the area.

Funding is available to support communities as they advance their learning about the project and engagement is expanded to the broader region.

Step 3: Phase 2 - Field Studies and EngagementResources to Support Participation

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How big a site is required?


Last updated 12/12/2017

Surface Facilities

The surface facilities require a dedicated surface area of about 650 metres by 550 metres for the main buildings and about 100 metres by 170 metres for the ventilation exhaust shaft.

The facility will also need a storage area for the excavated rock. Its location (on-site or off-site) and footprint would be determined in collaboration with the community.

Underground Facilities

Repository designs have been created for planning purposes, but may be subject to change as the project moves forward. According to these initial conceptual designs, the repository will require an underground area of about two kilometres by three kilometres (about 600 hectares or 1,480 acres).

The actual underground footprint at any particular site would depend on a number of factors, including the characteristics of the rock, the location of underground features in the rock, the final design of the repository, and the total inventory of used fuel to be managed.


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How will the NWMO confirm a willing host? Will residents have a say?


Last updated 10/18/2016

We have a community-driven site selection process that is designed to ensure, above all, that any location selected is safe and secure, and has an informed and willing host.

Best practice and experience suggest there are a range of approaches a potential host may use to demonstrate its willingness in a compelling manner. These might include documented support expressed through open citizen discussions, a telephone poll, online meetings or surveys, and/or a formal referendum.

New approaches may also emerge over the intervening years as societal expectations and decision-making processes continue to evolve. Communities will be encouraged to identify processes that meet their specific needs and demonstrate clearly to the NWMO whether the project has the support of citizens.

As the siting process has evolved, and engagement has broadened to include First Nation, Métis and other communities in the area, the need for partnership to support the implementation of the project is emerging as an important objective. The project will only proceed with the involvement of the interested community, First Nation and Métis communities in the area, and surrounding communities working together to implement it.

About the Process

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How will the area selected benefit from the project?


Last updated 10/18/2016

Adaptive Phased Management is approximately a $22.8-billion (2015 $) national infrastructure project. It will bring about significant economic benefits to the area where it is eventually located, including the community that initiated the area's involvement, First Nation and Métis communities in the area, surrounding municipalities, and the host province.

It is a multi-generational project that will be developed and implemented in phases over a period spanning more than 150 years. The economic impact will include many direct, indirect, and induced jobs, involving scientists, engineers, tradespeople, and others. Construction and operations will create wealth in the form of business profits and personal income throughout the siting area amounting to many hundreds of millions of dollars.

We will work with communities in the siting area to foster well-being and help capture benefits that align with the communities' visions. The project may contribute to social and economic pressures that will need to be carefully managed to ensure the area's long-term well-being and sustainability. We will work with communities to explore the need for assistance, such as job training, affordable housing and infrastructure.

This image visually depicts employment numbers by project phase, including estimated timelines and range of skills required. Detailed information about the image is on the Employment by Project Phase page, linked below.
Employment and EconomicsSteps in the ProcessEmployment by Project Phase

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How will neighbouring communities be affected?


Last updated 10/18/2016

We are committed to ensuring the project is implemented in a way that fosters well-being and fits with the long-term vision for the area among people living there. The project will only proceed with the involvement of the community that expressed interest, First Nation and Métis communities in the area, and other surrounding communities.

Surrounding communities have the potential to benefit from the location of the project in their area. It is a large infrastructure development that is expected to provide significant employment and income to the host region and province. With a project of this size and nature, there is also potential to contribute to social and economic pressures. For example, temporary workers during construction will need to be accommodated. These pressures will need to be carefully managed and addressed to ensure the long-term health and sustainability of the community and area.

Potentially affected surrounding communities, and First Nation and Métis communities will be engaged in the process. We will ensure necessary resources are available for their participation.

Employment and Economics

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What if all the communities say no?


Last updated 10/18/2016

If an informed and willing host is not identified, then used nuclear fuel will continue to be safely stored at the interim storage facilities located at each nuclear reactor site. We would continue to work with Canadians to decide the best way forward for its safe, long-term management.

About the ProcessHow Is It Stored Today

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What is the best type of rock for hosting a Deep Geological Repository?


Last updated 10/18/2016

The international consensus is that both crystalline and sedimentary rock formations have properties that make either potentially suitable for the safe containment and isolation of used nuclear fuel. Both of these rock formations are found in Canada and Ontario where all the study areas are located.

The nine-step site selection process, with its progressively more detailed studies, will ensure the selected site is located in a suitable rock formation. The geology must meet all scientific and technical site evaluation factors for the protection of present and future generations and the environment over the long term.

Demonstrating SafetySteps in the Process

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Were communities paid to enter the process?


Last updated 10/18/2016

No. Communities taking part in the site selection process voluntarily expressed an interest in learning more about the project.

As communities continue through the process, we provide resources (information and funding) to support their participation and reimburse expenses associated with the project.

Resource programs are designed to ensure communities are able to thoroughly assess the benefits and impacts the project may have on their community. These programs will continue to evolve to ensure communities have the support they need at each step in the process.

At various stages in the process, we have also provided funding to retroactively recognize communities' and organizations' contributions to advancing this national infrastructure project.

Resources to Support Participation (Funding and Expertise)Recognizing Community Leadership in Preliminary Assessments: Phase 1Acknowledging Aboriginal Contributions in Preliminary Assessments: Phase 1

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